But Really Though: How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?

Updated 03/12/18

One of the weirdest debates I've ever had over mimosas at brunch involved the age-old haircare question: How often you should really wash your hair? We all had different answers and were convinced that whatever we learned was the right way. When I took the conversation over to my beauty friends, it got even more confusing, as everyone has been told one thing or another about what exactly to do when it comes to washing your hair every day.

Normally, a quick Google search is the answer to put an end to all debates, but when you search "is it bad to wash your hair every day?" there isn't much to help you either. You either find articles all for washing it every single day or articles listing all the dangers that come with doing so. So which is it? We turned to hairstylist and owner of Gemini 14 Salon Kathy Benghanem and celebrity hairstylist Derek Yuen for their input. Their verdict? It depends.

"Unfortunately there is no set answer for this," says Yuen. "What it comes down to is personal preference, daily habits, hair texture, and scalp health."

Girl At Shampoo Bowl

We're learning more and more that if you want healthy hair, you must take care of your scalp. To make sure your scalp is getting the moisture and nutrients it needs, he explains that you must curate your own cocktail of hair products.

"The key to getting clean hair is to find the right combination of shampoo, conditioner, and product for your hair," he says. "Almost all shampoos and conditioners are labeled with guides for which texture it is best for. You can also try adding powders and dry shampoos to your arsenal if you don't want to wash every day. Experiment with how long you can personally go without washing and see what you feel is best."

He does, however, caution against shampoo too often. "How shampoo works is that it traps dirt and oil residues, which then will rinse away," he says. "Our scalp naturally releases oils to protect and moisturize our strands. Over-shampooing will strip too much of the necessary oils and can lead to dry, brittle hair and breakage."

Benghanem agrees and says to determine how often you should wash your hair you can look at your skin type. "For example, if you have oily skin, consider washing your hair two to three times per week," she says. "If you have dry skin, only one or two times per week."

In addition to that tip, you should also consider your lifestyle and find a routine that makes your hair feel soft and healthy. For example, Yuen says if you work up a sweat with workouts every day and can't stand the feeling of oily or sweaty hair, you'll end up probably shampooing every day. To decrease oil production, Benghanem suggests keeping your hands out of your hair and over-brushing. She also says dry shampoo can be your best friend when used correctly.

Girl Shampooing Hair

But the most important factor to consider in terms of determining how often to wash your hair seems to be hair texture. Depending on what kind of hair you have, you can either go without washing for a day or two or need to stick to a more consistent routine.

"In general, thicker, coarser hair, as well as curly hair, can go a couple of days without washing. Because curls and coarser hair tend to be a bit drier, it takes a longer amount of time for your oils to spread out and coat the hair," he says. "Depending on the time it takes for each individual, you could go anywhere from two days without washing to even just once a week."

If you got thin fine hair, you may want to consider washing it every day. "Finer textures most often need to be washed every day, as the natural oils will spread faster and you can probably see and feel it over the strands," he says.

We're all about this method of finding your own preference when it comes to washing your hair. So you go on and do you.

In need of a wash? We put together the best shampoos on the market.

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